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New Jersey man pleads guilty in hit-and-run case

A New Jersey man faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison after admitting his role in a December 2013 pedestrian accident that claimed the life of an 84-year-old man. The defendant entered a plea of guilty to a charge of vehicular manslaughter on June 1 according to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. He is also facing a number of drug charges unconnected with the fatal accident.

Police say that the 28-year-old Toms River resident fled the scene after striking a pedestrian crossing Dover Road near Fairway Driver at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 16, 2013. Reports indicate that the man was speaking on a cellphone immediately before the auto-pedestrian accident. The pedestrian was pronounced dead after being transported by helicopter to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

The subsequent police investigation led to the man being taken into custody on Jan. 16. Police say that the man attempted to conceal his role in the accident by replacing the windshield on his Kia Optima sedan and removing accident debris from the vehicle's interior. The man's plea agreement will require him to serve at least 85 percent of his custodial sentence before he becomes eligible for parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 11.

Hit-and-run accident victims may pursue civil remedies when police are able to identify and apprehend the driver responsible, although it may take some time before the responsible driver is identified. In the event that the victim's injuries are fatal, surviving family members may wish to speak with an attorney regarding the advisability of pursuing a wrongful death action against the driver that would seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses as well as other amounts permitted by statute.

Source: NJ.com, "Toms River man admits role in hit-and-run that killed 84-year-old pedestrian", Alex Napoliello, June 2, 2015

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